There’re any number of silly Brexit solutions floating around but today’s prize for the silliest must go to this in The Guardian. That England and Wales should leave the European Union and Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t. This, it is claimed, will not mean the breakup of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. When, obviously enough, this is exactly what it will mean.
Think it through for a moment. The European Union itself is insisting that if the 6 counties in Ulster are not to be part of the EU while the rest of the 32 that make up the island are to remain then there must be a hard border around the 6. This will mean what if two nations leave and two don’t?
When all solutions are bad, it’s time to reinvent the problem. Is it still possible to honour the initial Brexit referendum without crossing the EU’s red lines? Yes – through semi-Brexit. The UK is divided into four nations, two of which voted remain and two of which voted leave. The British government could honour those decisions and allow Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain in the EU as the successor state to the UK, while permitting England and Wales (if it still wants to) to exit. Semi-Brexit does not mean breaking up the UK. Rather the reverse: semi-Brexit may be the only way to hold the UK together.
A hard border between Carlisle and Berwick has its attractions of course, keeps those hordes of marauding porridge wogs where they should be. But such a hard border is hardly consistent with continued union now, is it?
Or more realistically, if we’ve two of the four nations under different trading, human rights, product acceptance, rules, then in what manner are we going to be still the same country?
One more bit. The Protestants in Ulster are absolutely adamant that no Brexit deal should lead to Northern Ireland being anything other than a full constituent part of the UK with no special rules, deals, nor a customs border down the Irish Sea. That insistence is supported by semi-Brexit how?